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Flu vaccination vital

Flu could put much more pressure than usual on GPs and hospitals this winter, following the worst outbreak in many years in Australia and New Zealand. Speaking at Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the winter flu season in the Southern Hemisphere is an indication of the pressure which could build up in the NHS this winter.

Reports have suggested there has been close to double the amount of flu circulating in Australia this July and August – the country’s core winter months – than the average over the previous five winters. Mr Stevens said it had been a “heavy flu season” and many hospitals had struggled to cope, which should act as a warning to the health service and the need to get as many people as possible vaccinated.

“For the next three, four, five months, the top priority for every NHS leader, every part of the NHS, is ensuring that the NHS goes into winter in as strong a position as possible. “We know we’re going to have more hospital beds open, we know we are better prepared,

Keith Willett, director of urgent care at NHS England also emphasised the importance of having the flu vaccine, especially for the young and elderly. Flu vaccinations are available at all DMC surgeries.